There’s already evidence that cannabis could be an effective replacement for opioids in the case of curbing addiction or treating pain. Now there’s even more proof that cannabis might even keep patients from enjoying painkillers altogether.
According to a new study, CBD, a prominent, non-psychotropic compound found in the cannabis plant “blocks opioid reward,” meaning that “it may be useful in addiction treatment settings.”
During the study, the researchers gave separate groups of mice either saline or morphine, in combination with one of four specific dosings of CBD. The mice that received morphine showed that their preference for the drug was reduced by 10 milligrams of CBD. Moreover, when the researchers administered just CBD alone to the mice, it had neither “rewarding” or “aversive” properties.
These findings support the notion that cannabis could be an “exit drug,” rather than a “gateway drug.” At High Sobriety, an addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, for instance, opioid-addicted patients use cannabis to ween off harder substances. In some scenarios, cannabis satisfies the same ailments or desires that opioids can, such as insomnia, pain, or relaxation.
Moreover, pain patients more often say they prefer cannabis to opiate painkillers. In a study of almost 3,000 medical marijuana patients, 97 percent said cannabis could help them decrease their use of opioids. Another 80 percent said that cannabis by itself was more effective than taking painkillers and medical marijuana together, and 92 percent said they preferred just cannabis to treat their pain.
As the country grapples with the worst opioid epidemic in history the results of these studies are welcome news. Especially in states where there is no medical marijuana program, or a limited one, CBD products that are available throughout the country, could be a helpful tool to mitigate the throws of opioid addiction or to help treat patients suffering from chronic pain.